ffxhd
Final Fantasy X HD has been in limbo for a while. First announced about a year and a half ago for PlayStation 3 and Vita, the remaster entered radio silence for a prolonged period of time, surfacing recently when a short clip emerged showing protagonists Tidus and Yuna, along with a few summons behind them. While only a tiny peek, it was enough to see that it appeared that Square-Enix might be doing a bit more than just a simple upscale.

Recently, things seem to be ramping up. We’ve had confirmation that, not only will the release include a remastered version of the rather maligned sequel, Final Fantasy X-2, but that both games will be the International versions released in Japan (which should mean we’ll get the bridging scene Eternal Calm). On PS3, the two games will be on one disc, whereas Vita owners will have to buy each separately. A couple of days ago, IGN also posted some gorgeous-looking screens from the remaster, which I will link at the bottom.

And today, we have our very first trailer. And doesn’t it look beautiful.

Of course, Final Fantasy X was always a lovely-looking game, yet here in HD it seems to reach its full potential. It looks so sharp and clean, and the detail really comes to life. It’s great to be able to pick out the ruined towers of Zanarkand in the distance as the group sits at camp on the edges of the destroyed city, and that scene with Tidus and Yuna in Macalania looks absolutely glorious.

I have a handful of things I’d like fixed in this re-release, and from this trailer, it appears at least one of them has been addressed; re-rendering the excellent cutscenes in HD. In truth, I’d have been surprised if they didn’t do this, but I admit I had been worried. When last I played FFX, with my PS2 connected to my LCD TV via a component cable for a clearer image, the cutscenes were very low-res, blurry and macroblocked, and it damaged the overall presentation. The short clip of Zanarkand being destroyed by Sin at the game’s start puts these fears to rest – it looks clean, clear and highly detailed. I had similar reservations about the handful of pre-rendered backgrounds, such as the entrance to Zanarkand’s blitzball arena/temple, so hopefully these will also be cleaned up.

My biggest bugbear with the original PAL release is the speed it ran at. Games of that era typically ran at a 50hz refresh rate here and 60hz in their American and Japanese incarnations, resulting in a game that ran around 17% slower for European gamers. You can see this in Final Fantasy X just by watching Tidus run – it seems more like he’s bounding across the surface of the moon. The image was also a bit stretched horizontally, meaning we had characters that looked stockier and wider than they should have. I’ll be very surprised if these things aren’t fixed for the re-release, especially considering that the code will be taken from the existing Japanese International release. Hopefully we’ll get a full-speed, widescreen presentation this time.

Curiously, Square-Enix have also set up a site for the remaster which promises an announcement trailer to be revealed tomorrow, March 25th. I admit, this site has passed me by, so I don’t know if it’s just sprung up or if it’s been live for a while now, but I wonder if the trailer that will go up tomorrow will be the same as the one that has appeared online today, or whether it’ll be another (hopefully lengthier) video. Here’s hoping for the latter, and maybe even a release date!

IGN’s FFX HD images:
http://uk.ign.com/articles/2013/03/22/final-fantasy-x-hd-vita-ps3-details-confirmed

Square-Enix’s dedicated site:
http://www.finalfantasyxhd.com/en/index.php

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